Joseph Hibbert

About Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert

Written By Kristina Byas

The Rastafari movement that took place after the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia in November of 1930 was a time where the people wanted to spread the word of the Abrahamic religion. During this time, a man known as Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert, became one of the first preachers of the Rastafari movement, along with a few others who also made it their mission to teach during this movement.

Joseph Hibbert Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert

Hibbert’s story is an interesting one, to say the least, as he spent his whole life teaching and preaching to the people about a religion he strongly believed in. Born in When he was 17-years-old, he made his way to Costa Rica, spending 20 years there working on a farm and becoming a member of the Ancient order of Ethiopia masonic lodge.

Ethiopian Coptic Faith

In 1931, Hibbert returned to Jamaica, where he started his own ministry, the Ethiopian Coptic Faith, in St. Andrew Parish. His goal was to teach others that Haile Selassie was divine. He ultimately ended up moving his ministry to Kingston, which is where he encountered Leonard P. Howell, a preacher who was teaching doctrines similar to those taught by Hibbert.

Howell asked Hibbert to help him in Kingston, which he did until Hibbert formed Howell’s followers into the Ethiopian Coptic Faith, while Howell was away in St. Thomas. When he returned, Howell expressed his dislike for the changes Hibbert had made and Hibbert was soon left to preach on his own. He then continued to develop the Ethiopian Coptic Faith without the help of Howell.

It has yet to be confirmed if whether or not Hibbert was among the group of Rastafari elders who got to meet Haile Selassie I when he visited Jamaica in 1966, but is believed that he did receive this honor.

Over the years, many people have learned of the Rastafari movement, especially the younger generations. This is interesting because when Hibbert, Howell and other preachers were teaching during the 1930’s and on, not many people had an interest in the Rastafarian culture. It seems as if Hibbert was on to something big when he began teaching those who wanted to learn about this culture.

Hibbert, who became one of the key figures in the Rastafari movement, passed away on September 18, 1986. His legend has continued to live on, as he is one of the main people responsible for the growth and success of the Rastafarian culture and the many beliefs of its followers.